A PACKAGE of help for East Lancashire rural businesses is set to be unveiled.

A range of support services including grants is being offered to help small and medium sized country-based businesses.

And two seminars are being held in East Lancashire next week to highlight the help available.

Under a European Community initiative, large parts of East Lancashire rural area come under the Object 5b programme which provides help to develop the economy of disadvantaged areas.

An EC funded research project has recently been carried out to assess the needs of small firms across the entire North West Uplands area.

The survey involved 561 small firms and identified improvements that needed to be made to improve their businesses including increased use of information technology, health and safety awareness and environmental management.

The survey also identified a need for long-term training and consultancy support.

The first stage of the project will be a planned programme of business advice and training starting in April with a series of evening seminars.

The two East Lancashire seminars are being held at the Stirk House Hotel, Gisburn, on May 6 and and at the Gibbon Bridge Hotel, Chipping, on May 7.

Further details are available on 01565 633667.

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